, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 1279–1288 | Cite as

High-resolution climatic analysis of wood anatomical features in Corsican pine from Corsica (France) using latewood tracheid profiles

  • Timo Hetzer
  • Achim Bräuning
  • Hanns-Hubert Leuschner
Original Paper


Key message

We propose a new methodology to identify intra-annual density fluctuations in latewood using cell features and relative radial position within the latewood of pine trees growing on Corsica, France. Climatic forcing of latewood wood anatomical anomalies was analyzed.


We analyzed latewood anatomical features from Corsican pine (Pinus nigra ssp. laricio) of high-elevation sites in Corsica (France) derived from digital images of the wood surface. Latewood of each ring during the period 1950–2008 was partitioned into ten equal parts P1–P10. Mean values of the cell parameters cell lumen area (CLA), radial cell width (RCW), radial cell wall thickness (CWT), and modeled latewood density (MLD) were calculated for P1–P10. The cellular profiles for each cell parameter were subjected to principal component analyses. It was possible to quantify macroscopically visible variations of wood anatomy like intra-annual density fluctuations (IADFs) by latewood profiles of different cell parameters. A combination of cell parameter characteristics including their relative radial position within latewood provides a quantification of the cell anatomical variations in an IADF. Individual cell parameter chronologies and principal components of cell parameter profiles were correlated with climate data to determine the climatic forcing on latewood formation. Average cell parameter profiles and deviations from the long-term means are able to describe “normal” and “anomalous” environmental conditions during latewood formation. Cell feature anomalies throughout the latewood during individual years allow the reconstruction of past weather conditions with a high temporal resolution.


Wood anatomy Mediterranean climate Pinus nigra Dendroecology Wood cell parameters France 


Author contribution statement

TH made all wood measurements, statistical calculation and graphics, participated in the interpretation of the results and wrote parts of the text. AB is PI of the project, participated in the interpretation of the results and wrote large parts of the text. H-HL is PI of the project, supervised the wood anatomical measurements, participated in the interpretation of the results and wrote parts of the text.


We thank the German Science Foundation for funding the project (BR 1895/19 and LE 1805/4). Furthermore, we acknowledge the support from COST Action FP 1106 STREeSS.

Conflict of interest

All funds were granted by the German Research Council (DFG). Grant holders were AB (grant number BR 1895/19) and H-HL (grant number LE 1805/4).

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timo Hetzer
    • 1
  • Achim Bräuning
    • 1
  • Hanns-Hubert Leuschner
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of GeographyFriedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  2. 2.Labor für DendroökologieGöttingen UniversityGöttingenGermany

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